Thousands of people with health conditions will receive new help to find work in Greater Manchester, including in Bury.

The scheme, known as the Working Well Individual Placement and Support in Primary Care (WW:IPSPC) programme, supports adults who have a physical or mental health disability to move into employment.

In-work support is also available to people who are working but need help to maintain their job.

The Growth Company, alongside subcontractor Groundwork, is delivering the programme which will see 40 employment specialists working closely with NHS Primary Care clinical teams to offer wraparound support.

A phased roll-out is underway with teams now in place in all 10 Greater Manchester boroughs over the coming months.

Commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the programme aims to help 1,500 adults across the region between now and March 2025.

WW:IPSPC will be delivered as part of GMCA’s wider Working Well portfolio which has a suite of different programmes to meet needs around health and employment.

It aims to help people move into work quickly with personalised employment support and advice integrated with their normal health treatment.

Participants receive "place and train" employment support, and they are referred onto the scheme by healthcare professionals such as GPs, or can put themselves forward.

Employment specialists will offer flexible one-to-one tailored support including rapid job search, liaising with employers, help with benefits, and bespoke careers advice based on skills and abilities.

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Operations manager at The Growth Company, Rochelle Seddon, said: “What really sets WW:IPSPC apart is its holistic approach.

"Our team of dedicated employment experts will be integrated into NHS teams, to ensure that physical and mental health needs are considered every step of the way.

“This means that when, for instance, a GP refers an individual to an NHS clinician for mental health support, our specialists will work closely with the healthcare professional to provide tailored employment assistance.

“And the support doesn’t just stop when someone finds a job – we will give ongoing assistance once individuals are in work to ensure employers are best supporting their needs. This really will make a tangible difference in the lives of those facing health-related employment challenges, ensuring they have the tools and support needed to succeed in the workforce.

“We are excited about the positive impact this programme will have on the lives of individuals and the Greater Manchester community as a whole.

"It will really help to build a more inclusive workforce where everyone has the opportunity to contribute their skills and talents.”

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The launch of IPSPC in the region comes as a recent report from The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that the number of workers taking sick leave has hit a 10-year high, with the average employee taking 7.8 days of sick leave during the past year - the most sick leave in more than a decade.

Managing director of GC Employment, Michelle Leeson, said: “The launch of this service couldn't come at a more critical juncture, with the recent report highlighting the increasing need for such a programme. What’s unique about WW:IPSPC is that support is also available to those who are off work sick and also those in work who are struggling with their health.

“We know that many individuals with mental and physical health conditions want to work but need that extra bit of support and help.

"Through WW:IPSPC, we aim to empower adults in Greater Manchester, helping them overcome barriers and find meaningful, long-term work opportunities.

“At a time when the challenges of health and work have never been more pronounced, this programme’s integrated approach aligns perfectly with responding to the needs of our residents. It is not just about finding jobs but also about providing the necessary support for individuals to thrive in their chosen careers while managing their health effectively.”

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